You have to enjoy your childhood, it is often said. For many children, this is difficult. They are often mocked, laughed about, insulted or excluded from school and harassed daily. Bullying can cause permanent scarring. Margrite Kalverboer, the Ombudsman to Children, is determined to make bullying a crime.
Bullying usually takes place in school. Bullying is often a problem in school. Teachers are often powerless because bullying happens behind the scenes and is not always visible. Every year, around 350,000 children are bullied. Often, the bully is not punished. Kalverboer wants to make bullying a criminal offense.
“Maybe bullying protocols are not enough and you should move towards criminalization of bullying. This is not a solution to the problem, but it will show how serious the misconduct is. Because the consequences of bullying are life-size,” says Kalverboer in an interview with the newspaper AD.
Kalverboer says bullying is still far too common. “That makes you difficult,’ is what victims hear. But when you speak to adults who went through such a terrible thing in their youth, they will carry the traces of it with them for the rest of their lives.” Incidentally, bullying also occurs among adults. In 2017 stated TNO that more than 1.2 million adults have experienced discrimination or bullying at work.
Kalverboer wants bullying to be a crime and will continue research on the causes, effects, and approaches of bullying. That is why she calls on children to fill in a questionnaire on the website of the children’s ombudswoman. “Unfortunately, children are the experts by experience. We must hear their views and opinions, as adults tend to underestimate the problem when they speak with children. Children can mercilessly expose how they are victims, despite rules and protocols.”